Before we begin, I’d like you to ask yourself one question. What is the single most important part of your business? (Besides yourself of course) Take a long minute to think about that.
Have your answer? Awesome. Some of you may have said your marketing efforts. Some of you may have said your customer service and, in all fairness, those are pretty good answers, but unfortunately, you’re wrong. The single most important part of a business is its website.
Your website represents your company as a whole and is often the first thing people see when they are introduced to you or your product. Do you feel that your website successfully represents how great your company is? How great your product is? How great you are? If you have even a shadow of a doubt that your answer wouldn’t be an astounding yes to any of those questions, your website is costing you and your business a lot of money.
I am going to show you how you can solve huge problems with your client/customer acquisition, retention, and much more. A business’s website is more than just a page on the web. A business’s website is its branding, its marketing, its advertising, its sales funnel, its client retention, its vision and its product all rolled into one. Try to think of one other piece of your business that affects every single aspect of your company and I bet that you will have a difficult time.
Let me make this clear. If your website isn’t done professionally,
You are losing customers.
If you are driving traffic to your website in an attempt to sell something, you need to make sure your website is effective. People come to me and ask why they’re paying so much money to get people on their website through ads and other means and nobody is “converting” or making a purchase. A lot of people get discouraged and say “online marketing doesn’t work.” However, the problem is that their website is set up poorly and improperly handles leads. They are, more than likely, losing all of their traffic on page one and have never even thought to investigate why.
Here Are The 10 Most Common Web Design Mistakes
#1 – Outdated, Old Design
This should be a given, but many people still overlook the overall design of their website. As I stated above, think of your website as your company’s brand and vision. If your company’s brand and vision have a design from 2007, do you think that people will view your company as exciting and up-to-date on all things in your particular industry? The answer is no.
This brings me back to the three things that potential customers need in order to buy from your company: a love of the product, a love of the company, and a love of you. The fact is, when your website design is outdated, visitors trust you and your company a lot less. The first thought that runs through their head is more than likely: “Is this company still around? Their website looks old.” This is definitely not what you want your visitors thinking. You want your visitors to be excited about your company, your brand, and your vision.
For example, as seen in the picture above, I revamped a marketing company’s old website (left) into the website on the right. Their website was pretty old and they wanted a heavier focus on web design. This company was already ranking pretty well in the Google searches for their local keywords. However, within a month after the redesign, this company landed a $14,000 contract with the initial point of contact being the new website. This was the biggest contract that company had ever landed by almost 400%.
Giving your website an updated look really pays off and that is why it is number one on this list.
#2 – No Clear Calls to Action
You have your website on the internet for a reason. In most cases, that reason is to make some sort of sale. However, I have seen so many business websites that leave me wondering what exactly they are selling or what I am meant to do. This is a fairly simple problem to overcome.
Figure out what you want visitors to do. Create Calls to Action (CTAs) that function solely to drive traffic where you want them. If the sole purpose of your website is to have people buy a product, you need to have a button that is eye-catching and tells the users what to do next: “Buy Now.” Certain businesses will require you to educate your consumer a lot more before you can ask for a sale. Sometimes, this means that you may have 1 or 2 intermediary pages before you get your visitor to the finish line. This can be okay, but only if it is absolutely necessary and it is executed properly.
It is statistically proven that people on the internet have short attention spans. If you fail to capture their attention quickly, you will lose them as a customer.
#3 – Limited or Non-Existent Mobile Optimization
In this day and age, making your website work and function flawlessly across all devices is absolutely pertinent to your website’s success. Over the past few years, visitors on mobile devices have quickly eclipsed those on desktop computers. Over 60% of traffic on the internet comes from a smartphone or tablet of some kind. If your website isn’t optimized for those users, you are automatically alienating 60% of your possible customers.
There are two ways to target mobile users: website responsiveness and a separate mobile website. When I say website responsiveness, I mean that the website will scale to whatever screen it is viewed on. As an example, shrink your viewing window when looking at this website and you will notice the content adapts. This is accomplished by using a design that is based on percentages and not static numbers. This is by far the easiest and cheapest method as you are using the same exact content and templates for both mobile and desktop views.
#4 – Not Optimized for Speed
So now your website looks great, works on all devices, and drives traffic. However, you may have overlooked another very important part of your website: Speed. All of this extra functionality, including vivid imagery and complex CSS rules, has slowed your website down to a screeching halt. If it takes over 2 seconds for visitors to see something come up on your website, you are still losing clients.
As I stated earlier, people on the internet have very short attention spans. You need to effectively and quickly capture their attention and drive them towards a sale. In order to do this, your website needs to also be snappy and responsive. Visitors need immediate reactions to their actions. One very easy way to speed up your website is to install some sort of caching technology. If you are on WordPress, this is as easy as installing WP Super Cache and turning it on in the settings.
#5 – Too Much Junk
This is one mistake that I see even veteran web designers make and ties directly in with #2. If your website is sloppy and cluttered, it will be difficult for visitors to figure out exactly what it is you are trying to get them to do. It is great to show that you have had over a hundred clients, but do you think visitors will actually look through all of them? Again, the answer is no. Focus on a select few that showcase your absolute best work , happiest clients, or best testimonials.
Figure out specific items that you want to focus on. Pick 2-3 products/services that you offer and prominently feature them. There is no problem with providing a lot of products or services, but don’t let that get in the way of your customer and don’t let that clutter your website. Remember, we are trying to drive visitors to very specific pages. Don’t let your visitors get distracted with junk.
#6 – No Definitive Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is another one that should be a given and many people already know about, but I think it is important enough to make this list. If you spend all of this time making your website the most effective in the industry, but you overlook your SEO, you have wasted your time. Optimizing your website for the search engines is a form of free advertising. If your website ranks higher in searches that potential customers are making, you will get more traffic. More traffic to an effective website directly correlates to more sales as long as the traffic is relevant to your industry.
I have purposefully put this lower on the list as competition is fierce for a lot of keywords nowadays and there are plenty of other marketing and advertising tactics to drive traffic to your website. While Search Engine Optimization is important as it is one of the biggest ways to get potential clients, it is not the only way to drive traffic to your website. But, that is something we will be saving for another post.
#7 – Flash
It’s 2016. Flash should be a horrible memory from the distant past. However, at least once a week, I still come across a website using Flash. Now, if you are late to the show, let me briefly explain why Flash is bad. Google (and other search engines) do not know how to read it. Thus, it doesn’t get indexed. Secondly, Flash is slow. If you are wondering why that is important, read #4 on this list. Third, and possibly most important, the majority of mobile browsers do not support Flash. If you are wondering why mobile browsers are important, read #3.
We have a lot of alternatives to Flash at our disposal. This includes relatively easy to learn HTML5, CSS3, and Canvas elements, so you have absolutely no excuse to continue to use Flash.
Seriously, don’t use it.
#8 – No Website At All
Again, it’s 2016. If you want a successful business, you have to have a website on the internet. Period.
When you don’t have a website, you are telling people that your business does not deserve a professional image. You are implicitly telling potential customers not to trust you and your company because you won’t invest the time or money necessary to create that image. If you do not have a website for your company, do yourself a favor and get one. You will thank me later.
#9 – No Local Business Listings
In the spirit of free advertising, don’t overlook the power of Google’s local business listings functionality. It’s a lot easier to rank and get seen for local keywords when you are utilizing local listings. These are at the top of any localized search and draw a lot of attention. You need your business in here and it is a fairly easy feat to accomplish. Go here: https://www.google.com/business/ and click the (perfect) bright green CTA that says “Start Now.”
If you want to get the most bang for your buck out of your local listing, make sure that you get reviews. The review stars are eye catching and can easily set you apart from your competition. Look at the image above, apart from the blurring, one listing strikingly stands out from the crowd and that is the one with the reviews.
#10 – Errors, Errors Everywhere
Even though this item is last, it is still extremely important. Errors on your website will easily destroy any chance you had at gaining a visitor’s trust. Think of it this way: You have carefully created this perfect path for visitors to walk down. They are strolling along happily, but they come across a burning wall in their way and they’re lost. Don’t let that happen.
Go through your website and check manually for errors. Set up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools on your website. Webmaster tools will show you all of the 404s (page not found errors) and other errors that Google finds. Monitor these reports and this will get you about 95% of the way there. The only way to make sure your website is 100% error free is to have multiple users on multiple different devices do a thorough check of all functions and pages of your website.
Now you have a pretty good idea of what it takes to make an effective website. Go out there and make the internet a better place!
All said and done, I want to end with some very important business knowledge: Focus on what you do best. If aren’t a professional and you create a sub-par website, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. A professional will create a phenomenal website and give you invaluable guidance on how to utilize your website as a platform for driving traffic, engaging your audiences, finding new clients, nurturing existing customers, and much more.
Just remember, it’s easy to make a website, but it takes years of practice to make an effective one.